Donald Trump taps legal heavyweights for Senate impeachment defence

Updated: Jan 19, 2020, 07:29 IST | Agencies | Washington

The high-profile team includes Kenneth Starr who led effort to unseat Bill Clinton in 1998 and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz

Kenneth Star
Kenneth Star

Washington: President Donald Trump’s legal advocates for his Senate impeachment trial will include a pair of well-known attorneys who have vigorously defended Trump on television and played roles in some of the most consequential legal dramas in recent history. Here’s a look at who’s on the team so far.

Pat Cipollone

The current White House counsel, Pat Cipollone is an unassuming and private figure who built a career around complex litigation. While he doesn’t have extensive trial experience, he has worked on numerous high-profile cases, including the lawsuit against credit reporting company Equifax after a massive data breach. He also defended the University of Virginia student who claimed she was the victim of a gang rape at a fraternity house and was featured in a 2014 Rolling Stone article that was later retracted. In the White House, he has forcefully defended Trump’s right to executive privilege.

Jay Sekulow

Well known in conservative circles, Jay Sekulow is one of the president’s personal lawyers, having represented him during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. As chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, Sekulow has also represented Trump in his fight to prevent the release of his tax returns.

Alan Dershowitz

A constitutional law expert and former Harvard professor, Alan Dershowitz was part of OJ Simpson’s legal “dream team”. He voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 but has nonetheless been a vocal public defender of Trump, writing a book titled, The Case Against Impeaching Trump.

Ken Starr

Best known for his 1990s role as the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, Ken Starr became a household name with his report on Clinton’s extramarital relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That led to Clinton’s impeachment over 20 years ago. But he and Trump haven’t always been on the same page. “I think that Ken Starr is a lunatic,” Trump had said in an interview in 1999.

Robert Ray

A former federal prosecutor, Ray took over the office of the Independent Counsel after Starr and is known for the lengthy report he wrote on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. He now focuses on white-collar criminal defense matters.

Pam Bondi

The former attorney general of Florida and a longtime Trump supporter, Bondi joined the White House communications team late last year on a temporary basis to help shape the administration’s defense strategy. She has worked as a lobbyist for Ballard Partners, representing clients including General Motors, and a Christian anti-human-trafficking advocacy group

Jane Raskin

The former federal attorney handled organised crime and racketeering cases and now has a legal practice with her husband in Florida. In the 1980s, she was a trial attorney with the Organised Crime and Racketeering Section’s Boston Strike Force.

Eric D Herschmann

He is a partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, a law firm that has represented Trump in numerous cases over the last 15 years. Herschmann served various roles at the Southern Union Company, a natural gas utility, including as senior executive vice president, and president.

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